I am getting on a plane today for a job interview. Over the past several months I have been preparing for an emergency of sorts (manmade, natural disaster, or personal emergency) I have done little plane travel. Prior to this, I used to do a lot of traveling all over the country. Most of my business trips are/have been on a plane vs car. Today for the first time in about two/three months I am getting on a plane, and it feels weird I cannot bring my typical everyday carry (EDC) with me. i.e. My Gerber folding knife, an Altoids can EDC kit (mini multi-tool, matches, needle, thread, etc.), Zippo lighter, and the like (UPDATE: The TSA have since allowed lighters back in carry-ons). In fact, I feel sort of naked without my EDC kit.
So, to improvise in the pinch, I brought along the following: Two Balance nutrition bars, an LED flashlight with 2 new AA batteries, an emergency space blanket, an emergency rain poncho, mini first aid kit with the following additions:
- One square foot of aluminum foil
- Pack of matches (got through security this time with no issue)
- One yard of duct tape
- Two Zyrtec allergy pills
- Travel pack of kleenex tissue
- Two small Purell waterless hand sanitizers. With 60% isopropyl alcohol and 40% aloe, this makes a great fuel gel in a pinch as well.
- One gallon plastic bag that can be used for wet clothes or as a water bladder. I should have added a couple Iodine tablets to the first aid kit for water purification. When I get home from this trip I’ll do that.
- A 200-yard roll of dental floss. Stuff is strong as hell and can be used for multiple utilities.
I am thinking of adding a couple of staple foods that I have in my cache at home and in my car’s EDC kit. Oatmeal packets, instant coffee/tea, and a packet or two of the tuna in the aluminum bags. Maybe a bag of my own trail mix that I make (raisins, M&Ms, Cashews, and Almonds) in a bag that I seal with my food saver. That should give me 24 — 48 hours of food in an emergency. Maybe also add a button compass, pair of surgical rubber gloves, a solar mobile phone charger, and a map of the area I am going to be traveling in.
I bought a $4.00 32oz bottle of water after I got through security. I’ll drink that while at the hotel I am sure.
All of this is in my backpack with my notebook, three pens, and my laptop. I feel a little better with some gear, but I am not 100%. I would like a multi-tool or my Gerber folding pocket knife. It is an invaluable utility.
I am also now looking at my laptop carry pack, and thinking about replacing it with something that has a little more utility for me and leaving some travel gear in it permanently for business travel. And while I travel mostly to major metro areas, maybe add a bottle of potassium iodide tablets for that just in case scenario.
Things I need to rethink for future business travel:
- Emergency change in travel plans where I get stuck in a destination for an extra night
- Lost reservations. When I got to the airport, I went to the wrong airline and almost got irate because they did not have my reservation… In the event of a real lost reservation, I should have a contingency plan in place.
- Weather delays, rental car disasters, etc…
I would consider the above bullet points, average to low-risk issues, and are items that are semi-frequently dealt with by many travellers. Below is a list of higher risk issues that may occur, and can be considered disastrous in nature.
- Major automobile accident
- Terrorist threat/attack where all flights get grounded
- Crashlanding of any kind to me would be major
I am also considering adding a large piece of sheet plastic that can be used as a very light shelter, and 10 — 20 feet of paracord, for obvious reasons I hope…
Further research has also shown me that there are some improvisations that can make it through security, and are allowed on a plane… Take a look: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/prohibited/permitted-prohibited-items.shtm
2021 Update: My EDC has gone through numerous iterations since this blog post in 2009. Knives, multi-tools, kits, etc. Luckily, I think the only time I really needed to use any gear out of it may have been from the ouch & boo-boo first aid kit supply I usually have with me when I travel. I’ll try to write a post on today’s EDC, sans Firearm (as I live in a low-liberty state at the moment).
I am facing a similar issue. I am going on a skiing trip with my wife in February and we are flying. I know that I will have a checked bag, so many things can be placed in that bag. However, matches cannot travel under any circumstances meaning my pocket kit cannot go. And, what if the checked bag gets lost? So, I am planning to take what I can in my carry-on, pack “sharps” in my checked bag, check through my magnesium fire starter and then deal with the lack of redundancies in fire making. I wonder if my Coghlan’s Survival in a Can would slip through in a checked bag. 😉
Jim, for what it is worth, I created an altoids kit for carrying on the plane. The concept was to have as much as I could with me, without a blade or fire making apparatus, which are NOT allowed on the plane. Here are the contents. The contents are obviously catered towards myself and the concept of a blade and fire making are not present, however, they are usually checked in my bag. If my luggage gets lost, I know that when I land a lighter, fire steel, and blade(s) are only a purchase away. One of the first things I do when I land as I am on the shuttle bus on the way to the rental car is to Google where any sporting goods, army surplus, or other outdoor store might be to make the purchase if I need to.
Here are the contents of my carry on altoids kit: 1 — 1 quart plastic zip lock bag, 2 SQ feet of aluminum foil, 3 zytec tablets, 3 altotoids, 4 — 500 mg Tylenol tablets, 1 antiseptic towel, 1 bouillon cube, 1 sudafed cold & flu (24 hour non drowsy), 1 salt & pepper packet, 1 button compass, 3 — needle & thread, 25′ dental floss/waxed string, 3 safety pins, 2- 4′ @ 45 lb steel fishing leader (to be used as snares to catch up to 45lb game), 8 iodine tablets for water purification (will purify one gallon), 1 imodium tablet, 1 teabag, three band aids, several cotton balls, two feet of electrical tape (wrapped around the altoid kit to keep it water tight) 3′ of duct tape cut into 3″ slices and stacked stuck to inside lid of altoid kit, 10′ of paracord wrapped around the outside of the altoid box…
Hope this helps…